Five to Follow MLB Betting: Saturday May 17, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 5/16/2014
From what research I can gather, the earliest in the 162-game era that a team has clinched a division was Sept. 7 by the 1975 Cincinnati Reds of Big Red Machine fame. Could we see a team clinch in August this season? The Detroit Tigers might be able to pull it off. The way they are going and with how mediocre the rest of the AL Central is, Detroit might well have a double-digit lead by Memorial Day. The Tigers are huge -600 division favoritesat Sportsbook.ag. Here's a look at Saturday's Tigers-Red Sox game,which has live betting at Bovada, and four other interesting matchups.
Pirates at Yankees (-150, 9)
Reports out of New York are the Yankees will be in the market for a starting pitcher before the trade deadline, but will they also have to look for an outfielder? Carlos Beltran was put on the DL on Thursday because of a bone spur in his elbow, and he might need surgery that could keep him out up to 12 weeks. So now Ichiro Suzuki is mostly an every-day outfielder again, and he shouldn't be. Friday's game between these teams was rained out -- doubleheader Sunday -- so the Yanks are expected to go with David Phelps (0-0, 4.09) and not skip him. He has made only two starts, both on the road, and New York has lost both. Pittsburgh also is expected to simply use Friday's scheduled guy, Edinson Volquez (1-4, 4.36). He is 0-3 with a 6.85 ERA in his last four starts. Ichiro is 5-for-16 career of him.
Key trends: The Pirates are 1-5 in their past six road games. New York is 1-6 in its past seven at home. The Yanks have won their past six at home against Pittsburgh.
Early lean: Phelps has generally been much better in his career at home. Take the Bombers.
Tigers at Red Sox (-127, 8.5)
Detroit entered Friday with a six-game lead in the Central and by far the best road record in the major leagues. The Tigers start Rick Porcello (6-1, 3.22) in Game 2 of their series Saturday in Boston. How good is Detroit? Porcello is considered their No. 4 starter. He has been a little shakier on the road with a 4.44 ERA. Mike Napoli is 4-for-12 with three extra-base hits off Porcello. Boston starts John Lackey (5-2, 3.57). The last time the Tigers saw him was Game 3 of the ALCS when Lackey pitched 6.2 shutout innings in Boston's win. Lackey hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in his past four starts this year. Ian Kinsler destroys the guy, going 15-for-35 with four home runs and nine RBIs.
Key trends: The Tigers are 7-1 in Porcello's past eight following a quality start in his last appearance. Boston has won nine of Lackey's past 11 starts against teams with a winning record.
Early lean: Like the "under" more than either side.
Reds at Phillies (-119, 7.5)
Already without the injured Jay Bruce, the Reds are likely to lose Joey Votto to the disabled list as well, a crushing 1-2 blow. Votto didn't make the trip this weekend to Philadelphia and is getting an MRI on his left knee. That's the knee he had surgery on in 2012 to repair a torn ligament. Uh-oh. Votto is struggling, batting just .257 with six home runs and 12 RBIs. I think the Reds are toast and will be a seller at the trade deadline. They start Homer Bailey (3-2, 4.72) on Saturday. He has had three straight quality starts, with the Reds winning two of them. Marlon Byrd is 6-for-16 with two home runs off him. The Phillies start lefty Cole Hamels (0-2, 5.32). He had his best start of the year last time, holding the Mets to a run over seven innings and striking out 10. Philly has lost all four times Hamels has taken the mound.
Key trends: The Reds are 1-7 in their past eight Saturday games. The Phillies are 6-1 in their past seven on Saturday. Philadelphia is 11-0 in Hamels' past 11 against the Reds.
Early lean: No Votto, and do you see that Hamels dominance against Cincinnati? Easy call.
Orioles at Royals (-110, 7.5)
It looks like Baltimore has a new closer, or at least a committee, in save situations now. Tommy Hunter started the season in that role but allowed at least one run in four straight outings. So Buck Showalter turned to lefty Zach Britton in Thursday's 2-1 win at Kansas City, and he pitched a scoreless ninth inning. Showalter wouldn't commit to Britton staying there or Hunter being replaced, but you can bet he sticks with Britton until he gives him reason not to. Baltimore starts Bud Norris (2-3, 3.98) on Saturday in K.C. He has been significantly worse on the road with a 5.48 ERA. The Royals start lefty Danny Duffy (1-3, 1.96), who just recently joined the rotation. He pitched in Baltimore on April 26 and took the loss, not recording an out in the 10th inning. The winning pitcher in that game? Britton.
Key trends: The Royals are 5-1 in Duffy's past six home starts. The under is 5-1 in Norris' past six starts.
Early lean: K.C. is playing better of late, so lean there.
Dodgers at Diamondbacks (+155, 8)
Arizona isn't just the biggest home dog on the board but the biggest overall. That's not something you see every day. No wonder: Clayton Kershaw is on the mound for L.A. Something very interesting happened in Kershaw's last start: He allowed a home run on curveball. By some reports he hadn't done that in the regular season since 2011. It came on a 0-2 curve by San Francisco's Brandon Hicks. Last year, batters went 14-for-146 (.096) in plate appearances ending in a curve against Kershaw, with 80 strikeouts and no walks, according to ESPN. That's incredible. Kershaw (2-0, 1.74) faced Arizona in the season opener in Australia, holding the Snakes to a run over 6.2 innings. Cody Ross has some success off him, going 8-for-23 with three doubles. Arizona starts Josh Collmenter (1-2, 3.89). He has pitched seven innings over two appearances against L.A. this year with a 6.43 ERA. Matt Kemp is 3-for-7 with a home run and five RBIs off him.
Key trends: L.A. is 8-0 in Kershaw's past eight road starts against teams with a losing record. Arizona has lost six straight at home against a lefty starter. The under is 5-1 in Kershaw's past six against the Snakes.
You have to pick and choose when to bet against Kershaw and get great value. This isn't one of those times.
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